From being a cine child artist, an accomplished Odissi classical dancer, an author and an HR professional, Leesa is a multifaceted personality with a strong inclination towards Indian culture and tradition. Leesa quit working in the corporate world after working for nearly 10 years to establish Nirguna Centre for Excellence to promote Indian culture through dance and music in Mumbai in 2008. A fellowship (Junior) from HRD Ministry, GOI in Odissi and her innovative approach to dance training prompted her to author the book, “Dancing is Fun”. The Centre For Excellence grew in popularity and she was globe trotting conducting workshops. Nirguna Centre for Excellence (the dance studio) was in a growth phase; new students, many performances, NCPA, workshops abroad, etc was in line.
Just when life was beautiful and buzzing, destiny had something written for her. In 2013, travelling back on a trans-Atlantic flight she suffered a brain arena and then during the course of treatment she slipped into coma. She suffered from a medical condition called Central Pontine Myelinolysis, this sudden jerk came to her at the peak of her dancing career where she had plans to open a couple of more dancing studios in Mumbai. She had to be airlifted to Mumbai from Frankfurt. Doctors at Nanavati Hospital told her family there is less than 5% chance of recovery and even if she had recovered, she would had to suffer from acute paralysis. Suddenly life came to a standstill.
This accident forced her to change directions in life and made her foray into designing and promoting handlooms. Nirguna was thus reborn in 2014. The “Rural Manager” inside her found solace in handlooms and handicrafts and thus, Nirguna included “promoting Rural Livelihoods” under it’s mission. Leesa grew from being a designer-entrepreneur to social-entrepreneur.
In a few months, once she stabilized she was back home feeling so lifeless that she could barely move in the initial weeks at home. But, she had a special reason to live her then 8-year old child, who was the reason for her strength. She went through her toughest moments trying to hold herself and her family together. There were many times, she would fall apart but looking at her child she would lift her spirit.
Accepting reality is the toughest part. Once you accept it then only you can change it. Life once again had plans for her but this time, it was more fulfilling and promising. Nirguna was reborn with a different and more meaningful purpose.
After nearly a year of rehabilitation at home she could not walk properly, she realised dancing was not an option. She then decided to still open but a boutique following her passion in life, sarees. She started helping the rural folk. Thus, Nirguna was born again in May, 2014. In her words, “I found new meanings to life and a better purpose to live for sure”.